November 13, 2017

Science on Tap sets sights on gravitational waves observatories

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The leading-edge gravitational waves observatories and the litany of scientific testing they offer are the topic of Purdue Science on Tap for November.

Maxim Y. Lyutikov, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will offer the talk, titled “Gravitational Waves, Black Holes and All That Gold,” at 6 p.m. Thursday (November 16) on the top floor of Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette. The informal talk is free and open to those 21 and older.

The Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Physics and Astronomy are co-sponsoring the event.

Lyutikov said such precise astronomical tools as the gravitational waves observatories have detected a merger of two black holes and, more recently, the merger of two neutron stars has been observed.

“This opens a new window into the most violent and most energetic processes in the universe,” Lyutikov said.

He compared observing such mergers to “measuring the distance to the nearest star with the precision of a human hair.” The observatories will allow testing of the theories of gravity, equations of the state of super-dense matter and the origin of many elements in the periodic table, including gold and platinum.

Lyutikov joined the College of Science’s faculty in 2006, first as an assistant professor of physics until 2010 before being promoted to associate professor in 2011 and professor in 2015.

He has earned the Simons Fellow and is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the American Physical Society.

Science on Tap, now led by graduate students Elizabeth Phillips, Matthew Pharris and Paula Cooper, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the event has averaged 80 during the program’s first five years.  

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu 

Source: Maxim Y. Lyutikov, 765-494-5396, lyutikov@purdue.edu

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